S:1048 Distinction: Ending An Experiment vs. Giving Up

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)

 

Nobody enjoys giving up. But that’s exactly what happens when you don’t have a plan going in. How many times have you seen someone hang in there and ride a losing proposition all the way to the bottom? Heck, I’ve done it and, statistically, so have you. Why do we do that?

Near the top of the list is the pain of feeling and admitting failure. Oh, there’s not enough ice cream in the world to smooth over that hurt.

Another reason for unreasonably hanging on is because once, long ago, far away, it worked; that is, things turned around and at the last minute a crash was averted. So maybe, just maybe, oh please, it will this time. Uh-huh.

Perhaps the biggest reason for crashing and giving up is the one mentioned above – not having a plan. Without a plan we don’t know where we are nor how to measure progress, or a lack thereof.

The game changes when you treat life as a series of experiments. Start with what you know, or think you know, determine some of the early steps, come up with some checkpoints, and write up the plan.

Then, as you execute your experiment you’ll have a way to see if it’s working. Try, test, try is a hallmark of successful people. Your experiment may not work. Sorry, every good and clever idea doesn’t pan out in the crucible of an unblinking market.

The key here is that even an experiment which doesn’t give you the outcome you originally wanted can be ended cleanly, minimizing your losses and the impact on your emotional state. You might even learn something which will help later.

Giving up after crashing is just too painful and the waves from that reverberate for a long, long time.

 

Coaching Point: Are you a good experimenter?

 

Copyright 2015 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.